"22 Anni di Messa"

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Measuring Time Eucharistically

The Italian expression for one's anniversary of ordination to the priesthood is so many years "di Messa". Today I am giving thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ for 22 "years of Mass." I find the Italian way of saying it very beautiful: the life of a priest is measured eucharistically. What matters, above all else, is his time before the altar, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Adoratio by Müller soie tissée.jpg ingres_vierge.jpg

An Unexpected Gift

Yesterday, after I spoke on spiritual maternity in favour of priests to a rather large group of Catholic ladies, one of them approached me saying that she felt compelled to give me a woven image of the Blessed Virgin Mary adoring the Most Holy Eucharist that had been entrusted to her. She drove to her home to get the image and returned with it in less than a half hour. Woven in black and white silk, and beautifully framed, it was produced by the Maison Neyret Frères early in the last century. At the bottom of the picture is a single word: Adoratio.

The woven image is an interpretation of the Vierge à l'hostie painted by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1841. One can see the original painting in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, in Moscow.

That this particular image should be given me for the Cenacle of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus on the eve of begining my 23rd year as a priest is significant, encouraging me in my "vocation within a vocation" to adore the Blessed Sacrament on behalf of all priests everywhere.

Virgo Mater Adoratrix[2].jpg

In Solitude and Adoration

I celebrated my 22 anni di Messa in solitude and adoration, adding at Holy Mass the orations provided "for the priest himself" on this occasion:


Almighty and merciful God,
listen graciously to my humble prayers.
Not for any deserts of my own,
but because Thy mercy knows no bounds,
Thou hast appointed me to serve Thy heavenly mysteries.
Make me a worthy minister of Thy sacred altars,
and let the words I utter
be hallowed and ratified by Thee.
Through our Lord.


By virtue of this sacrament, Lord,
wash away the sins that stain my soul,
and grant that Thy grace may render me worthy
to fulfil the duties of my priestly office.
Through our Lord.


Almighty, everlasting God,
by whose will, I, a sinner,
serve at Thy sacred altars and extol the power of Thy Holy Name,
have mercy,
and through this sacramental rite forgive my sins,
making me fit to serve Thy majesty.
Through our Lord.


Dear Father Mark:
May the Lord continue to bless you and preserve you as you celebrate 22 anni di messa in His service. I thank the Lord for your faithful ministry as an alter Christus to His people, especially through the Vultus Christi blog. It has been for me, and continues to be, a rich spiritual source to strengthen my faith and help me in moments of doubt.

I pray that your ministry to priests will be fruitful.

Ora pro me.


Father Kirby,
Thanks you so much for your inspiring talk on Saturday at the Prayer Breakfast. I too was overwhelmed with the picture that was given to you but I do beilieve that it was all in God's wonderful plan. We, as women, are inspired to pray for our Priests and through the Blessed Sacrament and our Mother Mary, we know we have an important job, praying in Adoration. May Our Lord continue to strengthen you in your Priesthood.

Auguri! Ad multos annos!

Thanks be to God, Father; thanks be to God! Ad multos annos!

Ad multos annos, Fr Mark!!!!! PAX.

Caro Amico,


May the Great High Priest grace you richly and may the Mother and Queen of the Clergy keep you in her heart.

Ad multos annos!


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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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